How many philosophers does it take to change a tire? Two. Exactly two. Two nights ago, the damned tire blew on the Mazda in the fog, right across the street from our usual service station when we're in Baltimore, as luck would have it, and mere yards from a nice cafe'. It could have been worse. This is my college roommate and very good friend Brian and myself (that's me in the hat)* standing near the Mazda sporting the tiny spare tire. The only other time I ever blew a tire, I was alone in a spot on the MD/PA state line were my mobile phone didn't work and where there was no light of any kind. It was 1998. I was only 18 and on the side of the highway. My 1982 Ford Fairmont had one weird jack. I had to get into the trunk to avoid getting hit by a truck in the dark. I'd only changed a tire in theory and never for real. Oh, and the tire decided to blow when I was driving at about 70 mph, which is a unique driving experience I would never wish on anyone, being the front tire. I managed to pull it off and was proud of myself during my one hour drive home that night in the summer of 1998. This time, the car was going less than 10 mph when the tire died. There was light. There was help. And there was coffee to be enjoyed while we waited for my fearless two brothers to come and pick the four of us up in their respective cars. It happened across the street from the Mazda service station and very close to the tire dealer we took it to yesterday. Mazda put needlessly expensive Goodyear Eagle RSA tires on what they consider a "compact car." They last maybe 20-25 thousand miles and cost over $200 each ($228 in our case). That's a stupid move. We're going to wear out a set of tires about every year that we have that car. And now the poor thing is actually parked next to god knows who, hopefully not getting dings on the sides, for which I will hunt a person down. We're poor grad students and probably are over-protective of our car -- as a result of the big monthly payments and because of what happened to the poor Focus. Anyway and luckily, my parents live in the newly-hip Hampden, as I've said before. And the four of us were able to make it to Cafe' Hon before closing, after which we retired to the Hon Bar adjacent to the restaurant. There were some fine local musicians playing very mellow Irish tunes, and there was plenty of Guinness and plenty of local Baltimore brews to be enjoyed. And your favorite philosopher found himself pretty drunk for the first time in quite some time. I was drunk enough to be tempted to run to the house to get my mandolin to join the band, but also drunk enough to forget any complicated chords and probably to even hold the instrument. Staying put was definitely a good decision. What could have been a horrible night turned out to be a nice evening with some very nice people, very good food, and very cold beers. Here is a photo of Brian and Carrie, a couple who is a veritable emanating plenitude of affection, warmth and love.
*[Sorry the photo of Brian and I is dark; my photo-editing software is on my computer in Illinois, not that I ever use it, really. And I didnt' shoot that photo, anyway:)]